A Christmas Story

Last Christmas we hosted the annual family potluck for the in-laws. Our home was decked out in luminescent LED lights and lit up with softly glowing candles to match the winter-wonder-fairyland theme we had going. Everyone found the chasing snowflake lights hung from our hallway arch spell-binding and mesmeric. There was magic in the air and an atmosphere that was so ethereally enchanting. Our Christmas tree stood twinkling and slightly askew under the weight of dozens of pale blue and silver balls. I’d spent half-a-day putting them up and a good two more taking them down!

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Chocolate fudge cake with caramel filling and chocolate ganache

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I woke up this morning with a buzz rolling round yet again; I haven’t been drinking so it must be chocolate on the brain.

Okay, now obviously that lousy adaptation of Shania Twain’s hit number Rock This Country won’t be fetching me any of those coveted miniature gramophones, anytime soon; fortunately I’ve got other talents to fall back on. Still, the buzz – or rather – chocolate stayed on the brain, threatening to completely throw me off focus and take over the routine of day to day living.

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Herb-rubbed Chicken drumsticks

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Cooking has been a bit of a lack lustre affair these past couple of weeks, thanks to a troublesome tooth that’s been killing my buzz in the kitchen. Though these pictures of succulently burnished chicken drummies might testify to the contrary (I know; I can’t believe it either). Unless, of course, I’m getting ahead of myself and assuming that they draw you in like they did me. Either way what you see here is the result of greed trumping achy tooth and the need to put something – anything – exciting on my plate even if wasn’t going to be a picnic for that messed up molar.

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Lemon Garlic Rosemary Roast Chicken

Writing a blog post about roast chicken is definitely not something you do amidst the hungry rumblings of an empty stomach. But I am going to try (key word, try) simply because, for me, responding to a blog idea is a mental reflex that I’m sure the hubs hopes (against hope) would work as efficiently with cooking meals for the family on time. But hey, bottom line, I get them fed!

Drat! I may be able to stave off persistent hunger pangs and dodge punctuality when it came to timely cooking, but there’s no escaping the incessant chatter of my neighbour who suddenly decides to stop by. I’d like to cut her short and make a hasty exit on some cockamamie excuse; instead I find myself curiously compelled to listen to her prattle on. Well, guess we’ll have to pick this up later.

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Buttercream blues

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My head was spinning like the rotating paddle attachment of my stand mixer as I methodically scoured every goddamn rule in buttercream troubleshooting to explain the faintly curdled mess churning. To make matters worse, the tube of red food colouring I’d thrown in there got me somewhere half-way between Barbie pink and ridiculous pink!

This was part of a Lightning McQueen cake project for the munchkin’s birthday and I was conducting a little dry run. From the looks of things in my mixer, all I can say is Thank God I decided to do so. The cake part was a breeze – a standard yellow butter cake; the shape was a no-brainer as well with the Lightning McQueen cake mould. But when I got to the frosting part, now that’s when things started getting a bit tricky.

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Under the green and gold at St Aloysius

It took a newspaper article – written with all the clinical objectivity of reporting – to jolt me off the couch and onto this post. After educating generations for 125 years, the walls of St Aloysius Anglo Indian Girls’ Higher Secondary School, as we proudly called it, were going down. A routine inspection had found that they could no longer hold up to further repair; the structure had slowly yet steadily succumbed to the ravages of time resulting in the painful decision to tear down the old building and construct a new one in its place.

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I couldn’t make up my mind which nagged me more – the impending demolition of a 125-year-old-school, my school, or the article’s trite description of its heritage as one of tiffin lunching in the shade.

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Doldol – La Bete Noir

I should have been in bed hours ago. We’d put in an early night and I had already got a jumpstart on the following day’s routine. So there was a slim chance that I might be able to keep my daily promise to get some exercise in the morning. Yet, here I sit nursing the remnants of a subsiding cold, and juggling ideas on how best to introduce this slab of dense, black, sticky sweetness you see here in the pictures.

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Christmas cake, calories and `girly charm’

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This has been a great holiday season so far – relaxing and hectic with the usual line-up of family gatherings, weddings, seasonal revelry and food orgies. It was surprisingly rewarding to meet up with old friends and long lost family and, at times, to quietly observe the bees-knees of family parties pretend ignorance at not knowing you as they teetered past on high heels and low self-esteem.

I felt stunning and confident – a combination I hadn’t experienced in far too long (shocking I know!) – despite the fact that I was miles away from my goal weight. But my carefully selected wardrobe for the season sucked me in and let me out at all the right places (Slim Trinny and bonny Susannah from TLC’s What Not To Wear would have approved), so I was in no immediate danger of letting my sedentariness bulge through. The icing on the cake was when I saw how other ample-waisted women trussed themselves up in clothes that left nothing to the imagination displaying assets in ways that were too close to the unflattering truth. I was pleased as punch! (Ah! Where would we be without life’s little thrills?) So all in all, I was doing pretty darn good! Until a few unsettling comments about how unrecognisible I looked threw me clean off balance.

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